Ontario to Require Proof of Vaccination in Certain Settings – Updated September 16, 2021

[introThe Government of Ontario announced that on September 22, 2021, individuals will need to be fully vaccinated (meaning 14 days following the second dose of the vaccine) and provide proof of vaccination (paper or PDF vaccine receipt) with photo ID (such as a driver’s licence or health card) to access certain public settings and facilities, including, but not limited to the following:[/intro]

  • restaurants and bars (excluding outdoor patios, delivery and takeout);
  • nightclubs (including outdoor areas of the establishment);
  • meeting and event spaces (such as banquet halls and conference/convention centres);
  • facilities used for sports and fitness activities and personal fitness training (with the exception of youth recreational sport, such as sports leagues, dance or swimming classes, although the exemption does not apply to youth spectators at such sporting events);
  • sporting events;
  • casinos, bingo halls, and gaming establishments;
  • concerts, music festivals, theatres and cinemas;
  • racing venues (e.g. horse racing);
  • indoor areas of waterparks;
  • indoor areas where commercial film and television production takes place, where there is a studio audience.

These mandatory requirements will not apply to settings where people receive medical care, food from grocery stores, or medical supplies.

Other exemptions include where a patron is entering an indoor area solely:

  • to use a washroom;
  • to access an outdoor area that can only be accessed through an indoor route;
  • to make a retail purchase;
  • while placing or picking up an order, including placing a bet or picking up winnings in the case of a horse racing track;
  • while paying for an order;
  • to purchase admission; or
  • as may be necessary for the purposes of health and safety.

Individuals who cannot receive the vaccine due to medical exemptions will be permitted entry with a doctor’s note until recognized medical exemptions can be integrated as part of a digital vaccine certificate. Children 11 years old and younger and unable to be vaccinated are also exempted. 

The announcement also stated that from September 22 and October 12, 2021, individuals attending wedding or funeral receptions at meeting or event spaces will be able to provide a negative rapid antigen COVID-19 test from no more than 48 hours before the event as an alternative to proof of vaccination. These rapid antigen tests would have to be privately purchased. Individuals attending such events at a meeting or event space but not an associated social gathering (e.g. a wedding reception) will not be required to provide proof of vaccination. Individuals attending such events at a place of worship or in a funeral establishment, cemetery, crematorium or other similar establishment for the purposes of attending a social gathering associated with a funeral service, rite or ceremony are also exempted.

Ontario announced that it will also introduce a digital vaccine receipt utilizing a QR code, which can be kept on a phone and easily used to provide proof of vaccination. A new app will also be launched to make it easier and more convenient for businesses and organizations to read and verify that a digital vaccine receipt is valid. Individuals will be able to continue using print versions of proof of vaccination if they so choose.

Individuals can provide proof of vaccination by downloading or printing their vaccine receipt from the provincial booking portal, or by calling the Provincial Vaccine Booking Line at 1-833-943-3900. Ontarians who received their first or second dose out of province should contact their local public health unit to record their information and receive proper documentation.

We will continue to update our clients with information as soon as it becomes available. If you have any questions about this topic, other COVID-19 related questions, or would like assistance with developing and/or reviewing pandemic plans, please do not hesitate to contact a Mathews Dinsdale lawyer, or refer to the Firm’s COVID-19 website resources.

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